As many American cities report exponential case growth, leaders elsewhere are moving quickly to demand facial coverage in hopes of avoiding a similar fate.
"We will learn from Texas and Florida and what is going on there now," said Rex Archer, director of health in Kansas City, Missouri, on Friday, when his city moved to requires masks within companies. "Their mitigations and closings were not adopted or adopted so quickly."
In Anchorage, where case numbers are increasing but not exploding, Mayor Ethan Berkowitz said masks will be needed in restaurants and stores next week. Taking that step now, he said, may limit the need for more drastic measures later.
"I don't want to go back to a squat period," said Berkowitz.
And in Little Rock, Arkansas, where cases are rising, Mayor Frank Scott Jr. cited alarming epidemiological predictions in a order requiring masks in your city. Scott said he recently tested negative for the virus.
"During the waiting period for test results, my mind was centered on the moments when I inadvertently failed where a mask and who could have been impacted" Scott said on Twitter.
But Americans above all have received mixed messages since the beginning of the pandemic on the need for masks. The surgeon general in February tweeted a message encouraging Americans to “Stop buying masks! They are NOT effective in preventing the general public from getting the coronavirus. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends fabric coverings "in public places where other social distance measures are difficult to maintain".
Even in some states with increasing outbreaks, guidance has been inconsistent. In Texas, for example, Governor Greg Abbott declared the state open for business, but when cases started to escalate, he asked Texans to stay home. He said Texans should wear masks, but he refused to issue a state mandate.